Andrew Wiggins, all-world high school phenom and Kansas freshman may very well win the Big 12, and may very well win an MVP with the Magic, Bobcats, or Suns. But sit your ass down and calm your tits on calling him the best young talent since LeBron, or even penciling him in for the #1 overall pick.
Does anybody remember Shabazz Muhammed? He was the top college basketball prospect coming into this season. People had immediately called him a number 1 overall pick and the best shooting guard since James Harden entered the league. He struggled with efficiency and things other than volume shooting at UCLA and ended up getting drafted with the last pick in the lottery, getting traded on draft night, and had more off-court controversies than NBA games played. Shabazz will be coming off the bench for a team that may or may not make the playoffs, but he will not have a huge impact one way or another.
Let me take you back to 2010. Harrison Barnes, called the top high school recruit by many professionals in the business, was gifted the number 1 overall pick projection before he played a game in college. Barnes struggled to adjust to the NCAA game, turning into a one-dimensional shooter and getting drafted 7th overall. Barnes had just as much hype as Wiggins, being number 1 on ESPN’s recruit list and earning a scout grade of 98, or 1 point higher than Wiggins. While the Warriors made a decent run in the playoffs, and Barnes was a key contributor, I don’t think there’s any question that he could’ve been something more.
We can go on and on referencing highly hyped prospects that never made it big, like Ohio State recruit BJ Mullens or #1 prospect in 2009 Avery Bradley, who both had a higher scout grade than Wiggins.
High school talents come and go, and few make their mark. I’m excited to see what Wiggins will offer, and it should make college basketball season a lot more interesting. But can we please get a full year of Wiggins before the hype train gives him an MVP? He could be a world beater in his first professional season, and the hype will be warranted. Or he could finish with 15 points and 6 rebounds per game, and fall out of the top 5 of the draft. There’s a lot of talent in this season’s draft, and some that we know are legitimate lottery picks, such as Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State, and there’s a lot of question marks. Remember kids, for every Anthony Davis, there’s 3 Avery Bradley’s.